The Red Sox are on to their third pitching coach in two seasons after firing Bob McClure on Monday.
McClure served as a pitching coach for the Rockies and Royals before being hired to replace Curt Young last December. Young lasted just one season after taking over for John Farrell, who left Boston after the 2010 campaign for a job as Toronto’s manager.
Replacing McClure is Randy Niemann, who was already working as Boston’s assistant pitching coach. Niemann spent the previous two decades with the Mets and worked under Bobby Valentine in New York for a time. It’s his first gig as a team’s primary pitching coach.
Under McClure, the Red Sox rank 11th in the AL with a 4.30 ERA this season. They were ninth in the league at 4.20 last year.
The Astros have released first baseman Jon Singleton, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Singleton, 26, was suspended for 100 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse for a third time. He has had issues with marijuana in the post and admitted to being a drug addict several years ago. He said, “At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict. I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself. I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that. So I have to work against that.”
Singleton played parts of two seasons in the majors in 2014-15 with the Astros, batting a combined .171/.290/.331 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in — appropriately — 420 plate appearances. He spent 2016 with Triple-A Fresno and 2017 with Double-A Corpus Christi, putting up middling numbers.
If he can convince teams he’s still actively working to overcome his addiction, Singleton may be able to find an opportunity elsewhere. But his road back to the majors remains long. He was once a top prospect in the Phillies’ system, then was traded to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal back in July 2011.